The Whole Kitchen Sink
When I first started backpacking in high school, my mindset was all about being gourmet with multi-pot meals. It always took way to much time and fuel to get my meals ready. Last year, We finally realized that the concept of “less is always more” was by far the best way to go about our kitchen setup for the AT.
We originally rocked a jet boil, 2 MSR alpine steal pots, and a jet boil pan! What in the world where we thinking? This was not our car camping rig either. Then we started to realize that all one (two people) really need is one pot and a bowl.
The Great Debate
Butterfly had fallen in love with the simplicity and ease of use of the MSR pocket-rocket stove. We realized that we like our food now and fast. This was perfect, most canister stoves have an average boiling time for 2 cups of water right around 3.5-4 minutes. Another benefit that we loved about canister stoves is the ability to manipulate the flame pattern to allow simmering. The only down side is not being able to see how much fuel you have consumed and the fact that you end up with extra weight with an empty canister. This setup is great for 2 people who are looking for simple and fast meals (i.e. knorr pasta and rice sides, ramen, instant mash).
Yet with my never ending journey to cut weight and cost of gear I have decided to make a few basic alcohol stove systems. The first one I will be talking about is a spin off of Andrew Skurka’s Dirt Bag cook system. This is a wonderful, cheap, and simple way to lighten up your kitchen. My second cook system I will talk about is my Freezer Bag Cooking (fbc) system that is built from a Fosters Beer Can and a Starbucks espresso shot can.
Andrew Skurka’s Dirtbag Kit
This is a wonderful and simple DIY kit that does not take to much skill or time to create. I think this entire kit took me about 10 minutes to build once I had all the materials. This setup is by far the easier of the too and not taking much time, effort, or handy-man/woman skills.
My Freezer Bag Cook (FBC) Kit
My freezer bag cook kit is a 100% DIY ultra light cook kit. I pulled resources together from youtube videos to create what I believe to be a great budget and Super Ultralight Kit.
First Thing on the list was to create an ultralight pot to be able to boil my water. I settled on the Fosters Cook Pot do to the availability of the product. I ended up following a few different youtube videos for this. My next step was to create an alcohol stove. I like the ease of use of the Super Cat Can Stove but wanted something even lighter. I stumbled upon Spiguiver Backpacking’s youtube video that creates an efficient and cost effective stove. So far this stove and the pot fit great together.
Now that I have my Stove and Pot system dialed the next thing was to create an aluminum foil Wind Screen, like I did for my Dirtbag Kit. The next thing to do now is to create a FBC cozy.
Both of these MYOG cook kits have a very similar final weight with a 1-2 ounces difference. When I go on short solo trips where I want to have a hot meal or too I tend to lean toward my FBC system because it is compact, light, and simple. When I go out with butterfly or on longer trips by myself I tend to gravitate towards the Dirtbag Spin Off. I like this kit because its a little bit more durable and is 100% self containing. You can have both kits and mix and match at a total cost of $37.
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